Budweiser, Nike, Asda: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

Bud takes advantage of dry January with Prohibition push

Budweiser has kicked off a marketing push for its alcohol-free Prohibition Brew beer to make the most of consumers doing dry January.

As part of the drive, Love Island’s Gabby Allen, will unveil a fleet of beer floats that will travel around the country giving away free samples of Prohibition Brew, as part of the brand’s UK launch.

Budweiser is also partnering with Time Out to raise awareness of the alcohol-free variant, including a four-page cover wrap in this week’s issue. It plans to give away 80,000 samples with copies of the magazine at key London stations including Victoria, Paddington and London Bridge.

The campaign is supported by out-of-home advertising, as well as digital and social content across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Sascha Cordes, senior brand manager at Budweiser, says: “People today are increasingly drinking less alcohol, as part of the broader healthy-living trend. In 2018, we predict this trend to continue, and don’t think there could be a better time for us to launch Budweiser Prohibition Brew for people who are looking for the great taste of beer, but with 0% alcohol.”

Searches for “alcohol free beer” increased 171% during the first two week in January, according to data from Hitwise. AB InBev UK’s own research suggests the low and no-alcohol beer category has grown 19.5% in the UK over the past year, driven heavily by the fact millennials drink less.

Prohibition Brew’s UK marketing manager, Rowan Chidgey, told Marketing Week when the brand launched in the UK in December that it wants to be the ‘the Coke Zero’ of alcohol-free beer.

Nike appoints new global CMO

Nike has promoted Dirk-Jan van Hameren to vice-president, chief marketing officer to drive deeper consumer relationships. He has been with the business for 25 years, most recently in the role of vice-president of Nike sportswear, adding $3bn in revenue during his leadership.

He takes over from Greg Hoffman, who has been appointed vice-president, global brand and creative marketing innovation, responsible for leading brand communications, brand design, advanced concepts and digital marketing innovation, as well as global brand imaging, events marketing and creative operations.

Van Hameren will report to president of the Nike brand Trevor Edwards, while Hoffman will now report to van Hameren.

Costa commits to ditching plastic straws while lower footfall hits sales


Costa has become the latest restaurant to join the fight against plastic use. It has pledged to ditch plastic straws from all its outlets this year, replacing them with envoronmentally friendly alternatives.

It joins Wagamama and Pret A Manger which made similar commitments earlier this week, while Waitrose will no longer sell plastic straws in its stores and Iceland has promised to remove all plastic from its own-brand products withn the next five years as the fight against plastic continues.

“Last year we removed straws from our condiment units and now serve them on request only,” said Jason Cotta, Costa’s UK managing director.

Yesterday Costa’s owner Whitbread warned during a trading statement that the decline in footfall across high streets was hurting its coffee shop business, a trend it expects to continue “for some time”.

Costa like-for-like same-store sales, dropped 1.5% in the 13 weeks to the end of November, compared to last year.

READ MORE: Costa Coffee commits to ditching plastic straws from all its shops this year

Aldi and Asda to stop selling energy drinks to kids

Aldi and Asda have followed in Waitrose’s footsteps by banning the sale of energy drinks such as Red Bull to children under 16.

From 1 March, Aldi will ask customers buying drinks with more than 150mg of caffeine to prove their age amid “growing concern” about the consumption of such drinks among young people.

Asda, meanwhile, will restrict the sale of 84 products from 5 March, aschief customer officer Andrew Murray says the retailer looks to “get the balance right between offering choice and doing the right thing”.

READ MORE: Aldi and Asda become latest supermarkets to ban sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to under 16s

Haiti wants to use Trump’s words against him

One creative director in Haiti wants to use President Donald Trump’s claim that the country is a “shithole” against him in a light-hearted campaign.

The word is emblazoned across a series of idyllic scenes to show the world just how much of a “shithole” Haiti really is. Phrases such as “Our sh**thole beaches go on for days” and “You bring the sunscreen, we bring the sh**hole” are plastered over pictures of beautiful beaches and waterfalls in a series of mocked-up billboard ads.

Fabien Dodard, a creative director at Parkour Studio, is the man behind the campaign. He is looking to raise money to run the out-of-home and print ads in Washington DC and has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise up to $40,000 to make his dream a reality.

On the page he outlines his plan for the cash:

• With $3,000, we can have one billboard on the insterstate.
• With $15,000, we can have one billboard up downtown.
• With $20,000, we’ll have one billboard + some transit ads
• With $35,000, we’ll have 2 billboards + some transit ads
• With $40,000, we’ll have all of the above + some ads in a D.C. mall
• With $200,000, we’ll have all of the above + a half page insertion of our letter in the New York Times. (yes a shithole half page insertion in the NYT is very expensive…)
• With $500,000+, we’ll have all of the above and will invest the rest of the money in tourism projects and infrastructure.

The campaign is not connected to the government of Haiti or its tourism agency.

The total raised currently stands at $4,885, up from $2,000 yesterday when AdWeek first reported on the campaign.

READ MORE: These Cheeky Ads From Haiti Hope to Use Trump’s Words Against Him

Thursday, 18 January

tesco clubcard

Tesco backtracks on changes to Clubcard loyalty scheme

Tesco has backtracked on planned changes to its Clubcard loyalty scheme after facing a backlash from customers. The supermarket was set to change the value of some of its rewards; currently points collected can be turned into vouchers that can be redeemed for between two and four times their value. Tesco wanted to change this to mean vouchers would always be three times their face value.

The supermarket argued this would make the system easier to understand and improve the value of those rewards worth only two times face value. But some of the most popular vouchers, for example for meals at restaurants such as Pizza Express, were worth four times their value meaning customers would get less for their voucher.

Tesco had planned to immediately launch the new system. But the rollout will now be delayed until 10 June 2018.

READ MORE: Tesco backtracks on changes to Clubcard scheme following backlash

Wagamama and Pret join the fight against plastic

Wagamama and Pret a Manger have joined the fight against plastic, becoming the latest restaurant chains to stop automatically providing customers with plastic straws. Instead, customers will be offered paper straws, with plastic only available on request.

The move comes after the UK government laid out its plans to combat plastic waste, which prime minister Theresa May called one of the “environmental scourges of our time”. According to trade organisation Plastics Europe, the UK uses 3.7 million tonnes of plastic a year.

The two restaurants join a growing number of brands looking to tackle plastic waste. Iceland has said it will eliminate or drastically reduce the use of plastic in its own label products in the next five years. Meanwhile Evian has today committed to using 100% recycled plastic in its bottles by 2025, following McDonald’s which made a similar promise earlier this week.

READ MORE: Wagamama and Pret seek to reduce plastic straw usage

Volkswagen sales hit record high as recovery from emissions scandal gathers pace


Volkswagen’s global sales hit a record high in 2017 as the German car marque continued its recovery after the diesel emissions scandal. VW says worldwide sales of the group’s cars, trucks and buses jumped 4.3% to 10.7 million in 2017. The figure means Volkswagen will likely beat rival Toyota to be the top car manufacturer globally; it is forecasting sales of 10.4 million.

“We are grateful to our customers for their trust,” says CEO Matthias Mueller. “We will continue to do everything we can in 2018 to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers all over the world,” he said.

Strong sales in China and new SUV includes the Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Kodiaq helped the company. Yet despite the sales high, Volkswagen was forced to spend around £15bn following the fallout from the emissions scandal in September 2015.

READ MORE: VW to Defend Global Sales Crown Amid $21 Billion Diesel Hit

Arcadia puts the squeeze on suppliers as sales struggle

Arcadia Group, which owns high street brands including Topshop, Topman and Dorothy Perkins, is imposing a discount on its suppliers from next month as it struggles amid weak high street sales and high levels of promotional activity. The group has told suppliers it will pay 2% less on both existing and future orders from 1 February, a move that will save the company millions of pounds.

Arcadia says the “small increase in discount terms” is necessary because the company has had to invest heavily in infrastructure, technology, distribution and people to remain competitive. However, it claims those investments also benefit suppliers, hence the squeeze.

The decision likely means Sir Philip Green’s retail empire had a difficult 2017. That follows on from poor sales in 2016, when profits slumped 79% following the collapse of BHS. The Guardian says Green has appointment management consultants McKinsey to help in Arcadia’s turnaround, with the plan to focus on boosting online sales.

READ MORE: Arcadia’s poor sales blamed for squeeze on suppliers

ICO renews calls for new laws to hold nuisance callers to account

The Information Commissioner’s Office is calling on the government to bring forward plans to make company directors responsible if their firm persists in making nuisance calls. The move comes after the data regulator fined Miss-sold Products Ltd £350,000 after it made 75 million nuisance calls in just four months.

ICO enforcement group manager Andy Curry says: “We hope the government will bring forward plans to introduce personal liability for directors as a matter of urgency, to stop them from escaping punishment after profiting from nuisance calls and texts.”

The call for changes to the law has been echoed by the Direct Marketing Association, which works closely with the ICO on tackling nuisance calls. “We applaud the continued hard work of the Information Commissioner’s Office in prosecuting rogue businesses, particularly those guilty of nuisance calls, and this latest fine is another strong step in the right direction,” says Mike Lordan, Director of External Affairs at the DMA.

“Hopefully, this rogue business being held to account and prosecuted for its actions will act as a deterrent for those considering using tactics like this in the future.”

Wednesday, 17 January

gregg'sGreggs unveils hot food menu with evening appeal

High street baker Greggs is continuing to expand its offer to customers, following the introduction of home delivery and the increased focus on breakfast and healthy options, by testing a menu designed to appeal to evening eaters. Evening is currently “the part of the day when Greggs doesn’t trade”, CEO Roger Whiteside is quoted as saying in The Guardian. “Hot food is the last of the big food trends we have chosen to pursue,” he added.

The hot food options, which will include dishes such as potato wedges and pasta, will be available in 100 stores initially. If successful, Greggs will seek to extend opening hours into the evening, opening up another front to compete with fast food restaurants and moving further away from its historical positioning as a bakery.

READ MORE: Greggs takes on Burger King and McDonald’s with hot food menu

Nestlé commits to KitKat despite selling US confectionery brands

Swiss food giant Nestlé has finalised its agreement to sell its US confectionery brands to Italian company Ferrero for $2.8bn (£1.9bn), first reported last week, while committing its future focus to international brands such as KitKat and innovation in other growth areas.

Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider says: “With Ferrero we have found an exceptional home for our US confectionery business where it will thrive. At the same time, this move allows Nestlé to invest and innovate across a range of categories where we see strong future growth and hold leadership positions, such as petcare, bottled water, coffee, frozen meals and infant nutrition.”

The brands being sold include Crunch, Nerds and Runts, while Ferrero’s other brands include Nutella and Ferrero Rocher.

READ MORE: Nestlé sells Crunch, Nerds and other US brands to Ferrero for $2.8bn

Nielsen to measure YouTube mobile app ads

video YouTube

European advertising statistics compiled by research firm Nielsen will soon include those from YouTube’s app for the first time, adding to its coverage of the platform’s ads on mobile and web browsers. Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings product will include the data in the UK, France and Germany, following rollouts in the US, Canada and Japan in 2017.

Nielsen’s metric aims to offer marketers and media buyers a de-duplicated measure of how many people view ads across different publishers platforms.

The move will ensure YouTube ads are reported using a methodology consistent with other mobile publishers. It will enable Nielsen to provide age ​and ​gender ​demographics for ​consumers ​viewing ​advertising ​on ​the ​YouTube ​mobile ​app ​as ​well ​as ​reach, ​frequency ​and ​gross rating ​points . ​

World’s biggest investor pushes ‘purpose’ agenda

The marketing world is currently divided over the meaning and value of having a brand purpose. Proponents such as Unilever claim purpose-driven brands outperform others financially, while sceptics such as marketing professors Mark Ritson and Byron Sharp see purpose as a distraction from the core task of generating increases in sales and profit.

The world’s biggest investment fund, BlackRock, has now waded in, strongly backing the need for companies to pursue societal goals, not just returns for shareholders. Chief executive Larry Fink has sent a letter to FTSE 100 companies and global business leaders arguing they must make “a positive contribution to society”.

He warns businesses could lose stakeholder support if they do not invest in a long-term strategy that encompasses good employment practices and diversity.

READ MORE: World’s biggest fund BlackRock warns companies to find a social purpose

Skittles to make Super Bowl ad for one person

Instead of shelling out millions to fight for TV airtime with dozens of other brands during American football’s Super Bowl next month, Skittles is opting for a less conventional route: advertising to just one person. According to AdAge, the confectionery brand and agency DDB have devised a creative execution aimed solely at Los Angeles teenager Marcos Menendez.

Skittles is an official NFL sponsor, but instead of paying the reported $5m cost of a 30-second TV ad, it has created a much cheaper PR stunt that also involves teaser videos and a Facebook livestream of Menendez’s reaction to the ad.

“We think of this as a Super Bowl ad, it’s just only being shown to one person,” says Matt Montei, marketing vice-president for fruit confections at Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “We really felt like we wanted to continue to reinvent ourselves around this timeframe and one way to do it is to just try a completely new way in.”

READ MORE: Trick Play: Skittles Makes a ‘Super Bowl Ad’ for Only One Person

Tuesday 15 January

Iceland becomes first grocer to go ‘plastic free’ by 2023

Supermarket chain Iceland has said it will eliminate or drastically reduce plastic packaging of all its own label products by the end of 2023.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called plastic waste “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”, and vowed to ban all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042.

As a first measure, the grocer says new food ranges being launched in February will be packaged using a paper based tray, rather than plastic.

“Iceland’s pledge will help cut down the one million tonnes of plastic generated by supermarkets in the UK each year,” a company spokesman said.

“The process to do this starts now, and Iceland is aiming to complete it within the next five years, removing plastics wherever feasible.”

Iceland also said its research found that 80% of shoppers would endorse a supermarket’s move to go plastic free.

READ MORE: Iceland supermarket chain aims to be plastic free by 2023

Airbnb now allows you to pay in instalments

Airbnb is rolling out a new feature called Pay Less Up Front, which as the name suggests, allows you to stagger the bill for your rented accommodation.

In most cases, guests will pay 50% of the bill upfront, with the remainder before check-in.

Not every rental is eligible for Pay Less Up Front. The total value has to be at least $250, making this only really an option for those staying in higher-end properties, or taking trips that last several days.

Users also have to book at least two weeks in advance. Airbnb has been trialling this for some time. In its limited trials, 40% of guests chose to use the service.

The housesharing company says that those who split their payments tended to spend more on bookings.

READ MORE: Airbnb now lets you stagger the cost of your rental

Fiat Chrysler to be ‘out of debt’ by June, says CEO

Nine years after emerging from bankruptcy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could by June finally have more cash on hand than debt on its books, according to its current CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Speaking at its annual press conference yesterday (15 January), Marchionne, entering his 15th and final year running the automaker, said the American-Italian automaker could finally have more cash on hand than debt by mid-year as it works to meet aggressive financial targets set in 2014.

A new CEO will also be appointed later this year.

“That [debt] problem is on the way out,” Marchionne said, reaffirming the company’s financial targets to generate up to $9bn in operating profits this year. “Finishing the year with cash on your balance sheet instead of debt is a big, big step for us.”

READ MORE: FCA could be net cash positive by June, Marchionne says

Co-op expands offering with online divorce service


While December can be stressful, January is largely a depressing month. Once Christmas is over, there tends to be an increase in divorce applications.

Grocer the Co-op is looking to respond to this trend, by launching its own fixed-fee digital divorce service in England and Wales (where about 100,000 couples file for divorce each year), according to the FT.

In a statement it said the new product would allow couples who had decided to end their marriage to “start their divorce from home, at a time that suits them”.

It believes the online product could cut the time taken to complete proceedings in the case of a non-contested divorce by a third from between six and nine months to four to six months.

The Co-op is not the first company offering online divorce services but it will be the biggest.

READ MORE: Co-op speeds up the quickie divorce (£)

Disney boots Facebook and Twitter off its board

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey have been ousted from Disney’s board of directors, as increasing competition between their companies sparked a conflict of interest.

Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer and former Google executive and Dorsey, who founded and still runs Twitter, will not run for re-election at Disney’s annual meeting on March 8, according to a Disney filing.

“Given our evolving business and the businesses Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Dorsey are in, it has become increasingly difficult for them to avoid conflicts relating to board matters,” Disney said in a statement.

The move signals the expansion to come from the social media companies, as well as Disney’s plans to become an online media player heavyweight.

Twitter last year announced partnerships with a number of media companies including some Disney competitors. In 2015, Disney tried to buy Twitter, Dorsey’s company.

READ MORE: Disney waves goodbye Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey over social media clash

Monday 15 January


OnePlus breaks billion-dollar sales barrier

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has broken the billion-dollar sales barrier for the first time, doubling its revenues last year to more than $1.4bn (£1bn).

Speaking to The Telegraph, OnePlus chief executive Pete Lau confirmed the company had made “healthy profits” during the period and now plans to challenge bigger players by collaborating with mobile networks in the US and Europe. While the company started out selling to fans directly via word of mouth recommendations, OnePlus signed a distribution deal with O2 in the UK in 2016.

Lau attributes the smartphone brand’s success to focusing solely on the high end market. This is the first time OnePlus has disclosed revenues since 2014, with the company seeking to position itself as a more transparent brand.

READ MORE: Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus breaks billion-dollar sales barrier

The Guardian rolls out new look branding as it switches to tabloid

The Guardian has launched its new look branding for print, online and apps, replacing the blue and white masthead used since 2005.

The new design coincides with the newspaper’s decision to move from a broadsheet to tabloid format in order to secure a sustainable future for the print product, according to editor Katherine Viner.

She explained the media brand’s desire to ensure its print newspapers make a “positive financial contribution”, explaining that the switch to tabloid format reinforces the Guardian’s “ongoing commitment to print”.

The new identity was teased on Friday with a short video shared via Viner’s Twitter account, narrated by actor Maxine Peake.

READ MORE: Guardian unveils new masthead before tabloid launch\

Formula One and 3M clash over logo rebrand

Formula One is facing a legal challenge from 3M over similarities between the sport’s new logo and a pan-European trademark registered by the American conglomerate.

The new logo, unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, is at the heart of a re-brand masterminded by Liberty Media, which bought F1 for $8bn (£5.8bn) at the start of 2017. Liberty Media had hoped to launch the logo on a new clothing range at Formula One’s 2018 season-opener in March, replacing the previous logo used by the sport for 23 years.

Created by Wieden+Kennedy, the new look F1 logo features an “F” formed from a curved stripe with a white line running through it, followed by a line representing the number one. 3M, the US manufacturer of Scotch tape and the Post-it Note, claims it has used an “F” in the same style for the past year as the logo of its Futuro brand of airline compression tights.

READ MORE: Formula One and Post-it Note maker 3M clash over logo redesign

Churchill slams vandals in latest TV ad

Car insurer Churchill is taking a swipe at vandals in a new TV advert, which sees British bulldog Churchie comfort a talking car tagged with graffiti. The car, voiced by comedian Josh Widdicombe, has been marked with suggestive ‘Bootylicious’ graffiti while asleep.

Created by WCRS to promote Churchill’s vandalism cover, the 30 second Shameful Tattoo advert will air this morning on ITV4 and then run throughout the day on ITV, including slots during Emmerdale and Coronation Street. A 20 second version of the ad will run from March.

The advert is the latest in Churchill’s ‘Objects’ series and is designed to reinforce the brand’s ‘Depend on the Dog’ positioning.

Festive footfall drops 3.5% in biggest decline since 2013

Footfall fell by 3.5% in December, the biggest decline since March 2013 according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Data shows that the December monthly year-on-year figure fell significantly below the three-month rolling average of -1.9% and the twelve-month rolling average of -0.7%. Footfall dwindled in all regions, falling sharpest in the South West (5.2%), Scotland (4.7%) and Greater London (3.7%).

In Northern Ireland high streets and retail parks both saw a decline in footfall of 3.1%, while shopping centres experienced a 3.2% drop. Meanwhile in Wales, footfall dropped by 2.6% compared to the previous month.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson suggests these figures further underline the consumer shift away from high street to online. She notes, however, that retail parks fared slightly better than high streets by offering the convenience of parking, click-and-collect and general leisure facilities.

“Improved delivery options by both purely digital retailers and those with stores and an online offer mean many purchases of last minute gifts are moving online,” says Dickinson.

“The squeeze on discretionary spending also contributed to the decline in footfall. Households had to use their money more carefully, researching products online, rather than heading out to stores to browse.”

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